I love studying Japanese and connecting with others who have a passion for the language. I started studying later in life, and my life has changed drastically because of following my passion. I am writing this from the middle of Tokyo, having just edited the latest podcast episode. In a sense, Japanese has been my significant other for years. Even when I tool a long pause in my studies while working in the States, I knew I would be back at the books someday.
What about the JLPT?
I am in Japan now and have gotten to know teachers and students. I take tests mainly because the finite deadline of a test day is a motivator. The JLPT made me learn vocabulary I use every day. It helped me get to a point where I can read most anything. I took the N2, then failed the N1 twice before passing. Does it guarantee fluency when you pass? Of course not. But it helped me get to a higher level. I continue to use tests as motivators, and I am working my way up the levels in the Kanji kentei.
When I was studying, I read a lot. I found most JLPT study books to be a bit painful. Subjects revolve around the printing industry, philosophy, abstract impressions of how cutlery represents Japanese culture. Grammar study was equally dry, and mostly required reading, rather than listening.
I also learned a lot of my Japanese from watching Dramas and movies on my laptop. Some of the things I blurt out today came from the scripts of old comedies. Nowadays, I listen to podcasts, all the time, both English and Japanese. I thought, what if I made audio files, that used JLPT grammar, that I could play over and over. Well, podcasts solved that problem. And I knew enough about audio editing and tech to be dangerous.
So far, it’s been a fun experience, and a bit more work than I expected. The audio quality will be gradually improving as I get used to the software. Me and my contributors have a lot of ideas. It’s only going to get better.
And more than anything, I hope it helps you on your path, with our passion.